Summary of my views about mothering

The word ‘mother’ refers to a relationship. It means more than doing everyday menial tasks. Each mother creates her own relationship, or conversation, with her baby.

Once we become mothers, we also develop new relationships with one another. The way we relate to one another is crucial. The isolation that so many mothers describe is not necessary.

Fathers are a vital part of family life. I haven’t written much about their perspective because surely fathers should speak for themselves. Also, I see a mother’s role as unique, not interchangeable with a father’s, and one that needs to be better understood. The much-used word ‘parenting’ often blankets over the crucial contribution of mothers. We need more words to validate what mothers are doing, especially as they start to relate to their babies, and then as they continue relating to their growing children, for the rest of their lives.

Because every family situation is unique, there cannot be one single blueprint for being a good mother. Mothers struggle with all kinds of practical difficulties to establish and maintain warm relationships with their children.

Mothering can seem so intimate, yet it is not just a private activity. It has a political dimension too. Politically, mothers are a diverse and potentially strong group.